Whiskey Cocktail Recipes
Whiskey is the quintessential man’s drink but that doesn’t mean it’s without its charms. Whiskey mixes like no one’s business and the ever-growing variety of whiskey cocktails is testament to that. We’ve scoured the whiskey-verse to find the most awesome whiskey cocktail recipes out there and bring them together for you. Our selections run the gauntlet from the tried-and-true to the unconventional and everything in between. So put away the flasks for the moment and break out the cocktail glasses. It’s time for 10 great tasting whiskey cocktail recipes.
1. The Libertine
The Libertine is the most complex whiskey cocktail on our list but if you can manage to pull it off you’re going to wonder where this particular bounder has been all your life. The Libertine here is the person who decided way back when to take such liberties with the Old Fashioned. All we can say is “Well done sir!” There are actually a number of variations floating around now but the recipe here touches on all of the main beats. You might find yourself raising an eyebrow as you read the ingredient list but trust us, the end result will justify the journey. Here’s what you need:
- 4 oz bourbon
- 2 oz lemon juice
- 2 oz simple syrup
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons of marmalade (!)
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 egg white
- 2 sprigs rosemary
It’s hard to tell from that list if you’re making breakfast or a cocktail but bear with us.
2. The Hobnail
With the cold weather settling in it’s time to set aside the gin and tonics and reach for the whiskey. The number and variety of whiskey cocktails that can help you get through the winter is vast but for a real off-the-beaten-track taste sensation it’s hard to beat the Hobnail. With the Hobnail you’re putting your best Scotch to work, even though Scotch is by nature one of the more finicky liquors. Here you’re putting that aloof quality to work by way of smart complements that create a finished drink that is greater than the sum of its parts. If you love whiskey sours you’re going to love the Hobnail. You may even come to prefer it over your usual sour. Here’s what you need:
- 1.5 oz blended Scotch whiskey
- 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
- 0.75 oz ginger syrup
- 2 or 3 dashes of angostura bitters
- 1 tspn Averna Amaro Italian bitter liqueur
Fill a shaker with ice and combine the ingredients. Shake well and then strain into a rocks glass over ice. If you like you can top with a bit of oil gleaned from an orange peel or simply garnish with the orange peel itself. Either way you’ve got a whiskey taste sensation that’s hard to beat.
3. The Sazerac
This taste favorite was born and bred in New Orleans some 150 years ago and took its name from the brand of cognac which originally comprised the backbone of the cocktail. Today, the Sazerac is built around rye whiskey but it retains the spirit of the smoky, bustling taverns of the Big Easy. It also includes a shout out to the Parisian cafes of the 19th century that so influenced New Orleans culture by including several dashes of the Impressionists favorite liquor, absinthe, in the recipe. The finished product has both heart and soul and here’s what you need to make it:
- 2.5 oz your favorite rye whiskey
- 2 dashes of peychaud bitters
- 1 dash angostura bitters
- 1 sugar cube
- 1 lemon peel
- Several drops of absinthe
Place the sugar cube at the bottom of a whiskey glass and muddle using a couple of drops of water. Toss in a few ice cubes then add the rye whiskey, peychaud bitters and angostura bitters. Take a chilled lowball glass and put a few drops of absinthe into it and roll them around to coat the glass. Strain the contents of the first glass into the second, chilled glass and garnish with the lemon peel.
4. The Brass Monkey
There’s been a fair amount of confusion surrounding the Brass Monkey for decades. That confusion stems from the fact that there are at least 2 different fairly well-known cocktails that share the same name. One is considered the misbehaving uncle to the screwdriver and is made with vodka and rum while the other is the particularly delicious whiskey cocktail we’re profiling here. While we have to admit the notion of a vodka and rum screwdriver has a certain appeal to it we’re going to stay on message. So here’s what you need to make the Brass Monkey (whiskey) cocktail:
- 1.5 oz Johnnie Walker Black or equivalent (Chivas perhaps)
- 0.75 oz fresh lime juice
- 0.5 oz vanilla syrup
- 2 egg whites
- Dash of maca powder
- Dash of lucuma powder
Place all the ingredients in a shaker, add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a lowball glass over ice. Toss in a splash of bitters to top it off. It’s going to remind you of whiskey sours you’ve had but with an appealing new flavor twist supplied by the maca and lucuma powders.
Combine the simple syrup and rosemary in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove it from the heat and let it cool. Add the bourbon, lemon juice and marmalade to a shaker, pour in the syrup/rosemary mixture on top of it and shake. Add ice to a lowball glass and pour the contents of the shaker over the ice. Then add the maple syrup, orange juice and egg white to the shaker. Shake vigorously until the mixture is nice and frothy then pour it into the glass over the other ingredients. Garnish with rosemary. Scandalously delicious.
5. The Algonquin
The Algonquin is named after the famed Algonquin Hotel in New York not, as some believe, after the Algonquin Social Club in Boston. Exactly who came up with the recipe has been lost to history but the history isn’t as important as the fact that this simple, classic whiskey cocktail has played a big part in the resurrection of rye whiskey from the depths of disfavor. Mellow and spicy but with a kick that sneaks up on you the Algonquin is a classic taste that employs simple flavor juxtapositions to create a joyful effect. A rye lover’s dream. Here’s what you need:
- 1.5 oz rye whiskey
- 0.75 oz dry vermouth
- 0.75 oz fresh pineapple juice
- Rye soaked cherry to garnish
Fill a shaker with ice then pour all the liquids in and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with rye-soaked cherry.
6. The Kentucky Mule
Since its invention some 70 years ago the Moscow Mule has spread far and wide. Today there are probably more variations of the Mule in circulation than any other popular cocktail. Of particular interest for the sake of this article is the Kentucky Mule, which substitutes Kentucky Bourbon for the cocktail’s original backbone liquor, vodka. The result is a simple, refreshing and extremely tasty whiskey cocktail that’s both easy to make and is one of the great holiday gifts for whiskey lovers. Just remember to serve it in a copper mug. Here’s what you need:
- 2 oz Kentucky bourbon
- 0.5 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
- 6 oz ginger beer (not ginger ale)
- Sprig of mint and lime wedge to garnish
- Copper mug
Add ice to a chilled copper mug. Pour in the bourbon and lime juice and stir gently. Top up with ginger beer and garnish with mint and lime wedge. Some folks will drop a lime wedge into the copper mug first and muddle it before adding ice and other ingredients. Up to you.
7. The Old Fashioned
The more things change the more they stay the same. That could be the motto for The Old Fashioned. This traditional whiskey cocktail has weathered the shifting sands of contemporary taste over the years only to emerge essentially unchanged. Although rye whiskey was the preferred foundation for decades it eventually gave way to bourbon only to see a recent shift back toward rye. But the fact is no matter which you choose to build your Old Fashioned around or how you choose to top it off the robust flavor still brings the appreciative nods and conjures sepia-toned memories of grandpa at Thanksgiving.
- 2 oz rye or bourbon whiskey of your choice
- 2 splashes of angostura bitters
- 1 cube of sugar
- Orange peel or maraschino cherry to garnish
Place the sugar cube in the bottom of a lowball glass. Use 2 or 3 splashes of bitters to soak the cube and then muddle it. Top the glass up with ice (if you don’t have a lowball glass and are using a standard tumbler instead fill it halfway). Add the rye or bourbon and stir well. Garnish with the orange peel or cherry, or use both if you want.
8. Irish Coffee
Irish Coffee has a colorful origin story that dates back nearly 90 years to the southwest coast of Ireland. At that time a guy named Joe Sheridan held down head chef responsibilities at the Foynes Harbor Terminal. Joe saw a lot of transatlantic passengers come through the terminal whose nerves had been frayed by the rough weather in the North Atlantic. His prescription for calming their nerves? A generous shot of Irish Whiskey in their coffee. Over time the recipe spread until today whiskey and coffee lovers the world over look for excuses to skip the coffee shop and instead head for the cafe to get a cup of the real McCoy.
- 2 oz your favorite Irish whiskey
- 4 oz freshly brewed coffee
- 0.5 oz simple syrup
- Whipped cream of your choice
- Grated nutmeg to garnish
Pour the whiskey and simple syrup into a coffee mug. Add the freshly brewed coffee on top of that. Top off the brew with whipped cream (either homemade or store bought, it’s up to you) then sprinkle with grated nutmeg and enjoy.
9. Hot Toddy
With the holidays in full swing and the long, cold nights of January and February looming it’s time to put your favorite bourbon to good use by serving up Hot Toddies to your guests. The winter chills won’t stand a chance against Toddy’s ability to warm body and spirit. And as the embers crackle in the fireplace, you’ll savor the spicy goodness and chase away those wintertime sniffles. Here’s how you make it:
- 1.5 oz your favorite whiskey
- 2 oz boiling water
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- A pinch of nutmeg (ground)
- A slice of lemon
Pour the boiling water, whiskey and honey into a mug. Sprinkle in the cloves and add the cinnamon stick. Add the slice of lemon and let it stand for 5 minutes before sprinkling nutmeg over the top and enjoying.
10. Whiskey Smash
The final drink on our list of great tasting whiskey cocktails is the Whiskey Smash. This is another simple whiskey cocktail but one that takes a decided turn for the refreshing. The Whiskey Smash has been around more than 140 years though it’s only recently emerged from obscurity. Designed to be a light, flavorful summertime alternative to the G&T the Smash delivers. Here’s how you make it:
- 2 oz rye whiskey
- 0.5 oz simple syrup
- 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
- 6 mint leaves
In the bottom of a shaker muddle the mint leaves with the simple syrup and lemon juice. Add a few ice cubes along with the whiskey and shake lightly. Fill a lowball glass halfway with shaved ice then strain the contents of the shaker into the glass. Top up the glass with more shaved ice and garnish with a single mint sprig.
The above recipes are sure to enrich your holiday parties, barbeques and quiet nights by the fire throughout the year. Enjoy.